As we have been reporting in the Trends Journal, since 1 February, tens of thousands of protesters in Myanmar have taken to the streets to fight for democracy after a military coup overturned recent election results and arrested the civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who reportedly won by a landslide this past November.
On Saturday, security forces in the country once again cracked down on protesters, killing at least 80 in a town just outside Yangon, the country’s largest city. 
Reuters, citing the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, reported the killings occurred in the town of Bago, which is about 60 miles northeast of Yangon. The wire service, citing local reports, said the true death toll is unknown because these forces stacked up the bodies and did not allow other protesters to identify victims. 
“It is like genocide. They are shooting at every shadow,” Ye Htut, an organizer, told the Myanmar Now news outlet. The updated death toll is unclear, but before Saturday’s killings, 618 protesters, including about 50 children, are believed to have been killed. On Friday, security forces in Bago reportedly used assault rifles, heavy weaponry, and hand grenades. 
“The U.N. in Myanmar is following events in Bago with reports of heavy artillery being used against civilians and medical treatment being denied to those injured,” the U.N. said in a tweet. “The violence must cease immediately. We call on the security forces to allow medical teams to treat the wounded.”
The report said the junta has denied the reported death toll and has insisted that automatic weapons have not been used. A spokesman from the military said 248 civilians have been killed along with 16 police officers. Myawaddy TV, a military-owned station, reported on Friday that 19 people have been sentenced to death over the murder of an associate of an army captain, Reuters reported. 
Leaders from the military told a press conference it appears the protests are dwindling. A spokesman also pointed to planned elections within the next two years.
The junta claimed widespread election fraud in the country’s November elections that handed Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party sweeping victories.
The military justified the killings by blaming demonstrators due to their occasional use of Molotov cocktails and rioting.
The Trends Journal has extensively covered the conflict in Myanmar. As we have been reporting, since the overthrow began, hundreds of thousands have been protesting in cities across the country, and work strikes have jeopardized commerce, shipping, and the general economy. 
Richard Horsey, a senior adviser on Myanmar with the International Crisis Group, told Reuters the country is at the brink “of state failure, of state collapse.”
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., told a Security Council meeting on Friday that security forces in Myanmar continue their killing rampage and even target “children far too young to even know what a protest is.”
“The military has blacked out their internet. By cutting its people off from the outside world, the military seeks to conceal its terrible actions and stifle protests, and unleash even more horrors with impunity. We cannot allow them to succeed.”
TREND FORECAST: Myanmar’s economy is in crisis. According to Fitch Solutions, it may contract by up to 20 percent. 
Civil unrest will continue to escalate as people lose everything and have nothing left to lose. However, we maintain our forecast that military rule will continue in Myanmar, and threats by the U.N., the United States, and other nations will achieve nothing in terms of bringing so-called “Democracy” to the country. 
Furthermore, the stronger outside countries pressure the Myanmar government – be they in sanctions or supporting rebel movements – the greater the ruling government will strengthen its ties with its Chinese neighbor.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesman from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told reporters on Friday that Beijing is committed to bringing a peaceful resolution to the unrest and “hopes that all parties in Myanmar will start dialogue as soon as possible to seek political understanding within the constitutional and legal framework.”
Dr. Sasa, an exiled opposition figure from Myanmar, called on Beijing and Moscow to impose immediate sanctions on the junta to prevent the looming civil war. He also wants these two countries to stop selling the junta arms. 
“That’s what we are asking them to do before this bloodbath happens in the coming days,” he said, according to Nikkei Asia. The report pointed to the Russian-made SU-30 fighter jets that the junta employed to bomb the region near the Thai border.
”It is no longer a military coup,” he said. “It is a military operation against 54 million people in Myanmar.”
Again, sanctions or not, we maintain our forecast for a continued “military operation” as it was even with the election of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who had served as State Counsellor of Myanmar (equivalent to a prime minister) and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2016 to 2021.

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